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Annual Poker Trip - California October 1-5

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Oct 8, 2021.

  1. AyDee

    AyDee is getting too old for this

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    Love the hand play by plays,
    great TR & nice job w. the win!

    Had a random minor house game after probably a decade or two off, was fun, goofy dealer call games like baseball, follow the bitch, and 357.
    Baseball highlight: Buddy loses w. a Royal to 5oak, then gets same revenge win.
    It was tons of fun.
    You make me want to dip my toe at SP just for the experience.

    any tips at cheapest but not too boring beginner game to play?
     
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  2. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    @mjames1229, Congratulations! Love the GN poker write up and your finish. I've played in that series and was shocked at the ignorance of many of the dealers. Did you experience this? One dealer was embarrassed and apologized as he was pulled off a blackjack table. We actually felt sorry for him and helped him with splitting pots, etc. Thank goodness we had a nice group and helped him.
     
    Tentative for WSOP & Super Senior event
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  3. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    Actually, the only questionable dealer we had as one lady at Sahara ... and she wasn't "bad" per se, just very slow. She dealt slowly and was slow to make change and slow pick up on the winning hand. If she weren't so damn cute there would likely have been more guys frustrated.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  4. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc High-Roller

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    When did this happen?
     
  5. omahatovegas

    omahatovegas Low-Roller

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    Great report! I've got a couple comments and questions that I'll just throw them out there.
    1. The guy claiming to have JJ or a 2 in the first tournament. I suppose JJ is possible, but what kind of nutbag reraises with a 2 in their hand preflop?
    2. Glitter Gulch. You didn't miss anything, unless you like warm beer, and questionable talent.
    3. Congrats on being ranked on Hendon Mob. :)

    As a fellow low stakes tourney player, I am beginning to warm up to the idea of playing more off strip tournaments and going back to car rentals instead of rideshare. I am curious though, what's the hold on these tournaments? I typically play the $60-$100 tournies at Flamingo, Bally's, etc. They're highly volatile, but usually filled with fish that don't understand how these tournaments basically become shove or fold after the first break due to the structure. The downside is the 33 percent fee structure. It's a real turnoff to me that the room makes more than the first place finisher typically. Maybe I'm getting old, but I don't remember it being this bad in years past. I still play them, as I can lose a much larger amount on the casino floor and enjoy the interaction at the poker tables.
     
  6. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    When we first stared these trips in 2009, the joke was that nobody was allowed in there unless they had shots of penicillin in their hotel room.

    That said, one of our current guys is a subject in this recollection that I had of my only experience with Glitter Gulch.


    Our group talks about that a lot. Our solution is to not think about it. I am not going to look it up right now, but it would not surprise me at all if $20 of the $60 entry at the Sahara goes to the house. However, all the add-ons are 100% added to the prize fund. But if they get 25 players, that's $500 to the house... not wholly unfair for taking up their space, multiple dealers, admin time for advertising, etc. A little steep? Maybe, but we're there to play low(ish) buy in poker... it comes with the territory. The solution for overcoming the rake? Place higher and win more.

    As an example of how we (as a group) are not funded for the more expensive tournaments, we'll use Phil. In our trip two years ago, he cashed in four of seven tournaments and thought he was pretty good. This year he got shut-out. He played 8 tournaments over five days and spent $745 in entry fees. If we play tournaments with a $250 entry fee that takes a lower rake, he only gets three tournaments for the same money. It's like 000 roulette or 6:5 blackjack... we want to play a more "affordable" game, and its the cost of doing business.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  7. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    Monday, October 4 at 4:00 AM - I still hadn't fallen asleep. I knew I was exhausted, but that tournament win really had my juices flowing. The problem was that we were supposed to meet to go to breakfast in a few hours, and play more poker in six... and I hadn't fallen asleep yet. It occurred to me right then that I had no chance to play a morning tournament. I texted the group, said that breakfast was at the Market St Cafe at 8:45 because if I am paying, I am picking. I also told them that I'd drive them to South Point for a poker game, but that I was coming back for a nap.

    8:00 AM - I wake up. Too late to nod back off, and much earlier than I had wanted. Pat had texted earlier about cashing our sports tickers from Circa, I let him know to meet me at the Cal exit near the Circa at 8:30.

    8:30 AM - I meet up with Pat, get down to the window of Circa's sportsbook, and realize that I only had my South Point sports tickets on me, not Circa. More proof that I wasn't in a Poker Way this morning.

    8:40 AM - Ten minutes to run from the sportsbook at Circa to my room at the Cal and back. Not too bad, really.

    8:45 AM - Only Pete meets us for breakfast. Phil liked my idea of sleeping in, too. We sit down and I don't look at the menu.

    8:50 AM - The waitress takes my order. "One Oxtail Soup, please". I get chastised in a heavy, heavy Asian accent "9 O'Clock! 9 O'Clock!" I said "But its not 9 O'Clock yet". She snapped "Nighttime". Severely confused, I order the pancakes and sausage. Then I check the internet... the Oxtail Soup is only 9:00 PM through 2:00 AM. After the fact, I tend to remember that I had seen that... but the waitress's response was very odd.

    10:30 AM - Snuggled under the covers of my king size bed. Don't ever dis a Vegas Nap.

    12:30 PM - I wake up not as refreshed as the previous night, but felt more capable of facing the day than I had a few hours earlier. I text Phil that I wanted to leave in an hour because I was buying lunch.

    upload_2021-10-11_22-58-30.png
    It was this or In-N-Out. I went back and forth in my mind a few times. The tie breaker is that I can get a fast food burger at home, we don't have a lot of quick, take-away tacos in Milwaukee.

    upload_2021-10-11_22-59-40.png
    Don't be fooled, this was my fourth taco (an adobada taco). The first adobada taco and two suadero tacos just weren't enough.

    2:20 PM - We are a little late, but we do arrive at South Point to play the next tournament.

    South Point 2:00 PM Monday tournament - 96 entries at $60 each. Start with 10K chips.

    Nothing through Level 4 except QQ, and everyone folded to my post-flop bet.

    Finally a hand, AK off, called a lady's all in with A6 clubs, she rivered a flush.

    I had cashed at South Point a couple of times, but lately they just have my number... I can barely get a hand, much less get on a roll.
    4:20 PM - I got settled into the bank of DDB progressives with the Royal Flush at about $1170, and in short order I get quad 2s for about $110 and quad As for $202... no kickers (and no photos as the hits were under $500). Before I can lose too much, everyone else comes to find me. Apparently we were in a race to crash in that South Point tournament. We decide to head downtown to relax before dinner.

    4:45 PM - Phil talks about playing some blackjack with us; I say that we'll head over to Main Street Station (forgetting that their table games were closed). Pete and I head to the Boars Head to wait for Phil.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-13-30.png
    More escalators.

    5:00 PM - I find Jose and (YES!) they have the Black Chip Porters.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-16-24.png
    I feel like I am born to be here.

    5:15 PM - I slide in a bill and start playing, while Pete goes exploring. There is a guy sitting at my left, and I guess he looks a little like @Ty. I ask him if he is who I say he is and he is not, but Jose overheard me and said "That's not Ty". We talk a little about the VMB and...

    upload_2021-10-11_23-19-17.png
    Jose says "Hello to the entire Vegas Message Board. Even @Joe who always sits down there".

    5:30 PM - I talk with Jose some more and he is quite the opinionated fellow. He has a theory on when the still-closed properties (Eastside Cannery, Texas Station, etc) will open, a theory about the MSS table games and about a dozen other subjects...

    upload_2021-10-11_23-23-28.png
    Like, why the Score With Four is not available on the SuperStar Poker games, though it is on the Game Kings at the bar.

    6:00 PM - Pete comes back and suggests we go back over to the California to play blackjack in case Phil is looking for us. We play for $150 (er, I mean about an hour) when Phil and Pat find us and we get ready to leave for dinner. While we're playing, the other non-Pete player asks "Are you on the Vegas Message Board"? It was @Gmoney10 who recognized my gorgeous eyes! (masks, remember). So whereas I look like a doofus for misidentifying a VMB member, an hour or so later, someone recognizes me. Fucking awesome!

    7:30 PM - A few years ago we started including a big group meal as part of the trip. In fairness, it is because Scott and Phil and I like food and we can get tired of eating half the meals in casino food courts, but it has become something that even Pete and Pat look forward to. In the weeks before the trip, Phil had quite a few Vegas places on his dining Bucket List, so I suggested that he pick one, with the caveat that the non-foodies can find something to eat there, too.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-32-38.png

    Bootlegger Bistro is an Italian Restaurant on Las Vegas Blvd, just south of the airport. The story is that they have been in business since 1949 using all of Chef Maria's recipes. Chef Maria died at age 102, and her daughter is now in charge and she is 82. The waitress was sure to tell us that these were very healthy meals if the founder and her daughter live long lives. Unfortunately for Phil, they moved into this strip-mall location in 2001. Phil didn't quite realize that there really weren't a lot of strip malls in Vegas in the late-40s.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-38-34.png
    Live music helped the ambiance.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-39-22.png
    Even Tim (in the center) joined us for dinner.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-40-16.png
    My Veal Saltimbocca with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo. It was milk-fed veal... you can always tell a great kitchen 'cause of the milk-fed veal. That's the secret. See milk-fed veal is pure white. Now pink veal, you can pound that shit for two days, and it'll never ever get tender, you know what I mean?

    I had two nitpicks about a fabulous dinner. I am not a big fan of Alfredo sauce, and I asked if I could get it with the house red sauce instead... the waitress talked me out of it, expressing how good it was because it was Chef Maria's family recipe. The Alfredo was fine, but I'm far more interested in the red sauce. Also I do not like mushrooms, and it never occurred to me to request to not have them. But Veal Saltimbocca is usually served on a bed or spinach, and I found myself missing that flavor and texture. That said, the veal was phenomenal, and certainly something I will be thinking about for a future visit.

    I would have added a photo of Phil's dinner, but he had the exact same thing I did.

    upload_2021-10-11_23-45-29.png
    Including the house-made Tiramisu and espresso.

    10:00 PM - Stuffed and with a very happy food baby, we head back downtown for that Last Gamble on our last evening.

    11:00 PM - Boom, down a quick two-bills playing blackjack. Phil, Pat and Pete go to bed. I still have too much money in my pocket and am at a cross-roads... book a win and go to bed, or "Go big or go home" using the house money.

    Tuesday, October 5 at 1:00 AM - Those fucking Buffalo Diamond machines. The one at MSS on the Berlin Wall Men's Room... last one on the right. 94 purple (4X) spins at $2.50. Hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of dollars later, I had only gotten four bonus games, not even coming close to the purple spins. This evening ended with a thud. Good thing I was still up for the trip.

    Evening came and morning followed, the Fourth day.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2021
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  8. booker

    booker VIP Whale

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    Good Question. 7-10 years ago?
     
    Tentative for WSOP & Super Senior event
  9. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc High-Roller

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    I have some friends who play low level tournaments around WSOP time and they rave about the Nugget's improvements the last few years. I thought it may have to do with the current work shortages.

    Love reading a poker focused, off Strip eating trip report. Keep it up, mjames.
     
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  10. NittyOne

    NittyOne VIP Whale

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    Ha,

    “you can always tell a great kitchen 'cause of the milk-fed veal. That's the secret. See milk-fed veal is pure white. Now pink veal, you can pound that shit for two days, and it'll never ever get tender, you know what I mean”

     
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  11. Hitting18

    Hitting18 Tourist

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    Love the casino quote. GL at the tables.
     
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  12. omahatovegas

    omahatovegas Low-Roller

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    All valid points, and yet, I still complain about it. Lol. It's not going to stop me from playing in them, as they are enjoyable to me and have been quite profitable in the small sample size I've played, about 50 or so tournaments. I attribute quite a bit of that to playing thousands of tournaments online during the poker boom. With the number of poker rooms closing in the last few years, I'm just thankful there are still places to play.
     
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  13. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    Tuesday, October 5 at 9:00 AM - We had a tactical decision to make... get to South Point for their 10:00 AM tournament, and knowing that there will be 100 or more players that it could take six or more hours, or sleep in and get to Sahara for their Noon tournament that would cost a little more, but with only 20 or so players. With a 6:00 PM flight, we chose the Sahara, so I took my time around the room, Triple-S, packed, etc.

    9:45 AM - Have I ever told you about the number of times that I have been to Vegas and its rained? I get that I'm there two or three times per year, but they could call me the Drought Buster.

    upload_2021-10-12_18-47-42.png

    And that was just the beginning as there was a Severe Thunderstorm Watch posted. But that didn't stop us from our appointed rounds... to Mr. Mama's for breakfast.

    upload_2021-10-12_18-51-34.png

    10:15 AM - Dammit, I forgot a great story from Monday's dinner at Bootleggers. Pat decided that a $2 bet that the first vowel in the first name of the server would be "A", however, Pete bet it would be an "I". Phil and I played the field. Basically, when Claudia took our order, Pete was out $6.

    So back to today, Pat decided that he didn't like that bet, and we instead each guessed the number of letters in the server's name at Mr. Mamas. There was a 4, a 5 and a 6 selected. I took 7.

    10:20 AM - When Lourdes took our order, I was $6 richer and changed from the BLT that I was going to get to the Country Fried Steak (with Country Throw-Up Gravy). She said it was a good choice, as they put sausage and bacon in the gravy as well as some maple syrup.

    10:45 AM - Eh, it was all right. I love Mr. Mama's for breakfast (its kind of a Last Day in Vegas tradition), but all I tasted in the gravy was maple. And I don't normally put maple syrup on my steaks.

    11:15 AM - After a quick trip to the airport to drop off Pete (who was flying to continue his vacation with a few days at Disneyland) we get back to the Sahara. I've got some time to gamble before the poker begins, so I walk around looking for a slot machine that was calling my name. I found a Lightning Link with the Major capped at $1000.

    upload_2021-10-12_19-1-20.png
    I'd better win this tournament, as that Lightning Link was mocking me as I walked away with significantly lighter pockets.

    Sahara 12:05 PM Monday tournament - 32 entries at $60 each (add-ons available). Start with 10K chips.

    32 entries? That might not be good.

    As it was on Saturday night at Sahara, I was completely card dead for a long, long time. So bad that right before break, I was hovering around the 5000 chip mark (if at any point you are under 5000 in chips, you can buy 5000 more for $20 until the end of Level 4). I didn't want to do that, but I kept an eye on the clock and looked for my spot to double up. About 5 minutes before the end of Level 4, I was dealt JJ so I made a big pre-flop bet... to which everyone folded, leaving me with 5500 in chips. I was successful to piss away 600 in chips (calling a bet I'd never really make) just to get back to 4900. Just before break, I "top off" with 5000 in chips for $20, then at break did add-on for another 10000. I wasn't flush, but I felt like I was back in the game as I assumed that I'd get a hand to play sometime.

    Level 6, A short stack with 22 shoved, and I had JJ and shoved.because I didn't want a caller. Nobody else called, the board held and I have made my way to the average chip stack of 26800.

    Level 8, we're keeping one eye on the clock as we have a plane to catch. But 32 players (a full table more than we saw at the other Sahara games) and three buddies in golf hats and polos at our table are moving so slowly... Deliberating each move like it's a fucking World Series event. That one guy (two to my left) wouldn't look at his cards until it was his action, then he looked at the stack of each player in the pot before making a move. All three were bad, but the guy in the Titleist hat... no wonder I fucking hate golf. We gotta pick up the pace or we'll never get to our plane.

    Later in Level 8, the hand I wish I had back as I was folding (there always seems to be one, ain'a?), I had Jc9c, called 3200 pre-flop. Flop had two clubs, but someone bet 8000 and there was one caller... I folded. Board ran out, I would have won with a flush over AA and two-pair.

    Starting to get blinded out... Starting Level 10 with 11 BB, raised to 6000 with JJ, one caller. Flop KQ7, I folded as he was grabbing for chips. Next hand shoved with 88, no callers, next hand shoved with 77 no callers. I had showed all three hands and everyone thought it was funny that I was dealt pocket pairs three hands in a row. However, I am only up to 30000 (15 big blinds)... the stack didn't increase that much.

    However, two hands later I have QQ and shove, two callers, but the guy with AJ flipped an A, and that was that. I guess four pocket pairs in six hands is one too many.​

    4:00 PM - I am back to that Lightning Link, still capped at $1000 for the Major. I threw a few more hundred at it (to the point where I'd need a couple of minors to break even on the day). Phil then started getting all weird about missing the flight (that leaves in 2-1/2 hours) and he's already checking flight costs for tomorrow if Pat has to stay (they were in the $350 range) then Phil checks the poker room and notes that Pat would have to take second place just to pay for his flight tomorrow..."OhMyGoshWhatIsPatGonnaDo!!!" said Phil. Phil is also all ready to have me drop him off at the airport to make sure he gets his flight, and alternately wants me to give him $20 to cover Pat's Uber to the airport so that we can leave and get there on time.

    4:01 PM - Yes, Phil said all that in a minute.

    4:10 PM - Phil gets the car from the valet, then comes to me and says that he'll leave it running so we can jump in and leave.

    4:15 PM - Ultimately, Pat walks away from his stack. There were still eight players and only four cash, so he had a long way to go just to get to the min cash spot. Pat was fine with his decision, but he never checked to see what happened if he was blinded out but still had chips when they got to the cashing spot. For all we know, they are holding a hundred bucks for him.

    4:30 PM - I cash out the last pittance from the Lightning Link and head to the bathroom for one last go before we go. Phil is besides himself in panic. I get to the car and tell Phil, "If this was up to me, we would be leaving right now anyway".

    5:15 PM - It took 45 minutes to leave the Sahara, get gas, return the rental, shuttle to the airport, clear security and walk to the gate. Phil... trust me on this.

    We had enough time to grab some airport dinner and eat it before loading the plane. I was able to watch the Yankees lose to the Red Sox on the flight (winning me the bet I placed at the last second on my phone at the airport) and watch one more episode of The Deuce before descending.

    And so brings us to the end of another adventure. I ended up giving away all of my poker winnings, but barely ever touched the bankroll I brought... I was up or down within $200 (based on using cash for some meals and non-gambling transactions). I had a hell of a time for a couple hundred bucks, I assure you that. I did come home with five more $2 bills than I left with, though...

    Next time out will be Super Bowl weekend. The flight and hotel is already booked. Poker Scott is booked as well, just trying to talk Pat or Phil to join us.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    It's an easy complaint, that's for sure.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
  15. Johnny Bollocks

    Johnny Bollocks Never mind the Bollocks...

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    Great, great read. I was engrossed with each chapter. Already can't wait for your next trip, thanks for sharing.
     
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  16. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

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    Superbly written and congrats on the win! Always enjoy your TR's
     
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  17. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    I gotta start a GoFundMe... I could go more often.
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  18. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    It was nice to meet you as well. I mentioned our little encounter in Monday's write up.

    Hope your trip went well. Gambling wise, mine turned to shit around the time we met up... not that there is anything there, of course :wink2:
     
    MJ's going to the Super Bowl (in Vegas)
    USBC Nationals, my portion
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  19. NPLV

    NPLV VIP Whale

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    This was a GREAT report. Interesting no Strip at all. Downtown and seemingly local Vegas spots. Just shows how so much fun can be had anywhere in Vegas. And playing so much poker and especially winning poker...what an awesome time.
     
    An NPLV Family Thanksgiving!
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  20. Sissyboy_Deuce

    Sissyboy_Deuce Tourist

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    Love the poker content and your group’s dynamic, thanks for posting!
     
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